If you’re reading this, then you might be familiar or interested in speed listening. And you’re in the right place. In this post, I am sharing with you tips to study faster with speed listening.
How Much Time Do You Spend Studying?
Do you know that most students are spending up to 15 hours in class every week? And did you know that out of this length of time, you can only retain 4 and a half hours’ worth of lecture?
That is such a huge waste of time.
But what if I could show you a way where you could easily save yourself anywhere from six to about seven and a half hours a week?
Read on to get tips on how to study faster with speed listening.
Effectiveness of Speed Listening
About 25% of the population is classified as auditory learners. These people go to class and go through one to three hours of lecture a day.
Although they’re not really retaining much, they feel like they must be there in hope of not missing out.
I was exactly that student when I started medical school. I would go to class and waste so much time. I felt like I got nothing out of a typical day.
But then I realized the effectiveness of streaming for those classes that allowed me to do so. I went from streaming anywhere from at 1x to 1.5x to 2x upwards of 3 to 4x speed.
Over time and with some practice I realized how much time I was saving myself without losing very much on comprehension.
Wait a minute!“If you want this post in a video format, you can check out my YouTube video below! Make sure to subscribe for weekly content if you enjoy this one!”
Your Brain is Capable of Speed Listening
Before we move on, I want you to remember this. You’re probably considering that listening at 2x may be a little bit faster for yourself. And still, you have to stop every so often.
But I promise you, your brain is totally capable of doing it. Let me give you some quick facts.
The average person speaks at about 150 words per minute, but we listen to around 300 words per minute. That means we listen twice as fast as the average person speaks.
So, while you’re sitting in a lecture, that information just isn’t coming as fast as your brain is able to process it.
There are most of you that when you start speed listening at 3x to 4x speed, that’s when you get a little bit uncomfortable. And it’s because you don’t realize the potential that your brain is able to take.
But think about populations that rely on listening alone. That includes people that are blind or legally blind, who must have a very acute sense of hearing.
Studies have shown that those individuals listen up to 3x to 8x faster than the average human being.
They’re going even faster than 300 words per minute!
Now, obviously, we’re not trying to listen to in lecture at 8x. But this just shows you the potential of what your brain could do with a little bit of practice.
When I started medical school, I was not listening at 3x to 4x. That would be ridiculous. But over time, I was able to train my brain to listen to those faster speeds and still make it sound like it was just natural.
Here’s how I did it.
Step #1: Skim Your Slides
The first step to study faster through speed listening is to just skim your slides.
Now I didn’t say skim through the lecture because that doesn’t mean reading the syllabus.
If you have like PowerPoint slides that are already available to you, go ahead and skim them. The reason for doing this is to just get comfortable with the flow of the argument.
You want to know where they’re going to start with, where the middle of transition points is going to be and what the final conclusions are.
In that way, when you’re listening at a faster speed, you can recognize those tidbits and know what part of the presentation they are just in case you ever get locked.
Step #2: Start at a Comfortable Speed
Step number two is you must start at a comfortable speed for the first 1 to 3 minutes.
There are speakers that talk very fast and some that are slow. Therefore, you just want to get a natural cadence of how fast they talk.
What you can do is, over the first 1 to 3 minutes, go to a speed that you’re comfortable with. Maybe that’s 1.5x for some of you, 1x for others, and maybe it’s 2x for some of you guys.
Either way, get into your comfortable speed. Get an idea of how fast or slow they appear to you. This is going to give you an idea of how far you can take your speed listening.
Step #3: Increase Speed Past Comfort Zone
The next step to study faster with speed listening is to increase your listening speed to slightly above comfort. This is where the magic happens.
So, if you naturally listen at 1.7x, maybe speed it up a little up to 2x, 3x, or 2.4x.
It may seem fast, but I want your brain to get a chance to get acclimated.
Then, do step four and slightly come down from that speed where things are going to become a lot more natural.
Step # 4: Slow Down a Little
When somebody is speaking fast, we ask them to slow down a little bit, right?
If somebody who intends to listen to 2x, go to 2.5x and then slowly slow down, you’ll notice that around 2.2x to 2.2x, you’ll still be able to understand what they’re saying. It will still feel natural to you.
And that’s how I was able to train my brain to naturally listen to a lecture and learn through speed listening.
I like the reaction. Initially, I got comfortable at about 2.5x and that’s usually where students stop pushing themselves.
But I was like, “well, let’s see what I can do”. So, I took it up to 3.2x and that’s really where the lecture has got to be fast. So, I slowed it down – but not all the way – just a little bit.
It’s going to take a little bit of training. But you can get there before I move on to the tools that can help speed, listen to lectures and really anything.
Want to know which study techniques work best for you? Download this FREE Impact Ratio Study Worksheet. Study smarter and save time by focusing on what works.
“This is crazy! SPEED LISTENING isn’t for me…!”
Now, you may say, “this is not going to work for me. This is stupid and I’m not going to try it and cause my scores and my grades are going to suffer”.
If you are an auditory learner who likes to listen to lecture because you feel like that’s where you get most of your learning, then speed listening can still be for you.
Although, I understand that you may not want to go to the extremes that I do as this is where you get most of your learning. So, you want to make sure you give some time to it.
But if you are one of the 70 to 75% of the population who go to class just because you need to, but doesn’t get very much retention from it, I highly encourage you to use learn through speed listening.
Does Lecture Help You?
If you’re not sure what works, download this free spreadsheet I’ve created. It’s going to identify the different study techniques that you are doing. This will also help you visualize what is your highest-impact-studying techniques.
Everyone has a different study technique so use this spreadsheet. It has helped a lot of my coaching students.
I’m sure it’ll help you.
If you find out that you’re not in the auditory learning group after doing the spreadsheet, it may be to your benefit to learn a little bit more speed listening.
Remember, you can save yourself anywhere from six to seven hours a week of not listening to the lecture just by learning through speed listening. You can use that time instead to do the techniques that work.
Maybe you’re somebody that likes to learn through group studying or drawing on a whiteboard. Whatever it may be, you still must spend those extra six to seven hours studying.
But speed listening will give you 6 – 7 hours of free time that you can use on other things other than just sitting on lectures.
Speed Listening Tools:
Now, before you go, I want to introduce you to some tools that you can use to learn through speed listening.
Tool #1: Google Chrome Plugin
Now if you use Google, Chrome is your main browser. And there are plenty of great plugins that can help you speed up pretty much any type of video.
If you use these plugins, all you have to do is press some shortcuts on your keyboard like plus or minus and you can speed up any YouTube video.
The videos must be a specific format but luckily most videos happened to be in this format. So, definitely give those plugins a shot.
Recommended: Video Speed Controller
(Use the ‘D’ and ‘S’ key to speed up/down your videos!)
Tool #2: VLC Media Player
Other tools that you can use to speed up your listening are video players things like VLC player for your desktop.
If you can download your lectures or if you’re listening to something that’s already an MP3 file, then go ahead and use VLC.
You can use the speed function to increase it anywhere from 2x – 3x and then listen to your lectures in that format.
Tool #3: Google Podcasts/Audible
Speed listening doesn’t have to be just for class. There are other great things that you can use it for like audiobooks and podcasts. You may want to obtain information from them but don’t want to listen for an hour.
So, you can use things like Google podcast, which can help you speed up things to 2x – 3x. If you’re a podcast listener, you can use apps like audible and for audiobooks, you can use their own built-in functions.
For YouTube, many of you guys probably know a function in the bottom to be able to speed any video up to 2x. Then, if you use some of the plugins from chrome you can speed them up even in fact.
If you want to try out a free trial of Audible for 30-days, check out this link right here! I’ve been able to use the app to read 30 books already by this June!
My Results from Speed Listening
I want to give you this little bit of motivation in case you’re interested to study faster with speed listening.
When I was a first-year medical student, I started it with just going to class. But that was not working for me. I got up to 2x – 3x and I was able to easily cut off up to seven to nine hours on a weekly basis.
I was able to then use that time to then use a study technique that works. Then, I was able to use that other extra time to relax, to enjoy my life outside of medical school.
I can also use speed listening to improve my life.
I love reading, but I also love listening to audio books. So, sometimes, when I have a long drive back home to visit my family, I usually put in a new audiobook I’m interested in.
Through speed listening, I can finish the book on the same drive and sometimes, finish another book on the way back.
You can only imagine the big impact a small change your listening speed can do to your life.
More Tools to Help You Study More Effectively
We’ll also go over some tools that will make speed listening much easier and natural for you in class!
Here are some of the study resources and tools I mentioned in the video!